'Dirty' nudists beach ban urged

By Michele McPherson

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Family First NZ is calling on the Tauranga City Council to pass a bylaw outlawing public nudity on the coastline.

The call comes in response to Papamoa residents' concerns over a Bay of Plenty Naturists' event set to attract about 40 nude people to Papamoa Beach today.

National director of Family First NZ Bob McCoskrie said families were concerned they may be confronted by nudity in a public place.

"Freedom of expression must never be at the expense of the right to protect children and families from offensive and inappropriate behaviour," Mr McCoskrie said.<inline type="recurring-inline" id="1003" align="outside" enforce-sites="no" />

"We would not allow nudists to expose themselves in shopping centres or outside schools. Doing it on the beach where there are families is no different."

The Kapiti Coast District Council had passed a bylaw in 2009 containing a clause that stated "no person shall remain upon any part of the beach in deliberate view of others in such a state of undress as to cause offence".

He urged the Tauranga City Council to do the same.

"Families don't want their children being confronted by naked men and women. The rights of nudists to 'hang loose' should not be at the expense of families feeling embarrassed or offended. It is completely inappropriate for children to be confronted with naked adults wandering past them or sunbathing. It is not for families to 'get out of the way'. The nudists should simply cover up."

Sunbrae Grove resident Shaun Gallagher said he was forced to check the stretch of beach near his home before allowing his young granddaughters to play on the sand, and elderly women in the street refused to walk along the beach.

"This is no longer a desert. It's a big, big family community. I think if they were genuine they would go and find somewhere that was as remote as it used to be," Mr Gallagher said.

He felt the nudists were holding residents to ransom.

"These are dirty exhibitionists and I can't think of a kinder way of explaining what I think they are."

He questioned whether police would arrest nudists on Mount Maunganui Main Beach.

The nudist event is held annually at beaches around the country and naturist Glenne Findon said it was a popular day for members.

"All we want to do is go to the beach and have a nice day there without any clothes," she said.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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